At the USDGC, there’s an oversized digital clock near Hole 1’s tee and one man in particular has his eye on it: Andy Greene, the USDGC’s official starter. Greene has had his eye on that clock or one similar, as he’s ushered in each player prior to their round since the USDGC began in 1999.
On Friday during Round 3, Greene will call out his 10,000th player’s name – a sign of not only the Championship’s endurance, but also of Greene’s dedication.
“It’s cool that it’s been around that long and I’ve been a part of it and I still haven’t missed (calling out) a single tee time in 17 years,” said Greene, who first took the job because he imagined it to be the perfect spot to meet and interact with each player.
Greene takes his role of shepherding each group onto the course seriously because after all it’s up to him to keep the tournament on schedule – something he’s perfected over the years. He says it all comes down to, “Running a tight ship. You gotta stay on time … That’s the main thing,” says Greene.
And he admits that it can be stressful, making sure every group’s members are accounted for. He’s often found himself looking around the vicinity, including the Pro Shop, hollering out the missing player’s name.
“The last thing I want to see is people missing their tee time,” said Greene, who works at Innova East as Vice President of Operations.
However it does happen. Most of the time it’s people dropping out of the tournament from injury or poor play, but occasionally a player arrives after his group has already teed off, which Greene says is never a comfortable situation. He remembers that happening with about 5 players since 1999.
Looking at Greene’s tee time sheet, you’ll see it scribbled with notes on pronunciation of tricky names (Scandinavian names require extra attention). He’s developed a knack for figuring out the correct pronunciation, but he still consults the players when he’s unsure. He said his favorite name of all time is Kingsley Flett of Australia.
He’ll even do the occasional request, even if it’s a little silly. He remembers granting one player’s request to announce him as the starting catcher for the Kansas City Royals.
In 2012, Greene celebrated his 8,000th called name with Andrew Machinski with a photo op and balloon. This year Greene said he may do something different.
“I’m gonna require that person to let me throw their first shot,” said Greene, later adding just kidding.